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NFC East

Washington Impresses in Week 1

Sweat and Payne Pressure Wentz. Photo by All-Pro Reels. 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Ron Rivera era in Washington begins with a divisional upset of the Philadelphia Eagles. In a true display of resilience the newly-monikered Washington Football team delivered a 27-17 comeback win against their NFC-East rival.

After trailing 17-0 in the 2nd Quarter, Washington relied on the strength of its defensive line en route to scoring 27 unanswered points. That same defensive line registered 8 sacks on the afternoon – including 2 by veteran Ryan Kerrigan and 1.5 by highly touted rookie Chase Young. Kerrigan was a world-beater on Sunday as the All-Pro started his 2020 campaign with the aforementioned 2 sacks, 2 tackles for loss, and a fumble recovery.

While the defense kept the ship afloat during the latter parts of the first half, the offense finally answered the call in the later stages of the game. Peyton Barber broke into the endzone twice on goal line sets and Dwayne Haskins showed promise as an efficient signal caller down the stretch – finishing with 1 touchdown on 178 yards passing.

Most importantly for Haskins he finished the game without any turnovers. While just a shade over 50% completion percentage he was effective in getting the ball to his playmakers, not trying to do too much.

As the defensive line turned up the pressure on Carson Wentz, the secondary took notice as the unit was able to anticipate routes and command their own pressure on hurried, lofted throws. Corner Fabian Moreau – who came up with an interception in the 2nd quarter – spoke on the D-line’s impact: “It allows us to play fast…it allows us to play free.”

While the Eagle’s offense faced injury concerns (right tackle Jack Driscoll and right guard Nate Herbig starting their first career games) the defensive performance cannot be downplayed. Throughout the offseason the frontline was lauded as being one of the greatest strengths for this Washington team. The nation has now seen that it has the potential to be one of the best units in the NFL.

Defensive tenacity and a tough nosed approach brought Washington its first win over Philadelphia since 2016. It may be safe to say that Ron Rivera’s personality is being embraced by a talented frontline that has intentions to disrupt the assumed balance in what could prove to be an open NFC East. Washington’s next game will be against Kyler Murray and the Cardinals in Arizona, 4:05 P.M. Sunday.

 

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